Section: Sports

Ladies tennis gains momentum for NCAC tournament

Ladies tennis finished its regular season on a high note as they completed two road sweeps of two North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) opponents, the College of Wooster and Allegheny College.

The Ladies came out of the gates strong against the Fighting Scots and did not look back. Their 9-0 win in Wooster, Ohio was led by Erika Oku ’21 and Kayla Pukys ’21 in singles play. Diana Aboubakare ’18, Kenyon’s ace, had the night off, so Oku took over her role as the No. 1 singles player for the Ladies. She did not disappoint, winning both sets 6-0. Grace Winslow ’18, Maggie Sweeney ’19, Annie Reiner ’19 and Ilana Blackwood ’18 also overpowered the Fighting Scots, as they won all of their matches and combined to only lose six games. 

Pukys ended the singles portion of the match against Wooster by winning both sets 6-0, 6-0. In doubles play, Sweeney and Winslow teamed up in the No. 1 doubles spot for the first time this year, and won by a score of 8-2. Oku and Blackwood, who paired at the No. 2 spot in doubles for the Ladies, also downed their opponents 8-2. In addition, the duo of Pukys and Ceylan Can ’21 pummeled their matchup by a score of 8-0. 

Four days later, the Ladies traveled to Meadville, Pa. to take on the Allegheny College Gators. Once again, the Ladies blanked their opponent by a score of 9-0. Kenyon had already secured their spot as the No. 1 seed in the NCAC tournament, so Head Coach Scott Thielke decided to make changes to both the singles lineup and double spairings. With the win, Kenyon has defeated the Gators in 25 of their last 26 matchups. This win against Allegheny may be the most constructive win of the season for the Ladies, as they were able to dominate another NCAC opponent even when they rearranged the lineup. It attests to the depth and strength that the Ladies have on their team, and the trust Thielke has in his players to get the job done.

Notably, the new pairing of Sweeney and Oku dominated their doubles match up by a score of 8-1. “Every single player in the lineup played an integral role this season,” Oku said. “Most of us went into third sets when we played nationally ranked teams and some of us had to play in the deciding matches. Our mental toughness and good focus has definitely helped us achieve a great record this season.”   

Oku won her singles match by winning two straight sets 6-0 to end the season undefeated with a record of 19-0. 

Kenyon improved their record to 17-2 on the year after their two wins this past week, their best record since 1996.

The Ladies will now push for the NCAC tournament trophy as the No. 1 seed in the tournament. “Since we have been close to beating higher ranked teams this season, we are going to go into the NCAC tournament with a lot of confidence,” Oku said. They will face off against the 8-seed, Allegheny College, in Indianapolis, Ind. on April 27. 

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